FALL 2020 | WINTER 2021 (upcoming!) | SPRING 2021 (upcoming!)

FALL 2020

ENG 501 Literary Theories & Practices 5 cr.
40003 TR 1400-1550 Katherine Anderson

Course Description:
This course introduces students to the study of literature and film at the graduate level. In this, it provides students with foundational professional skills, such as database searching, academic publishing and presentation, and scholarly writing, while also familiarizing students with a range of critical approaches to the study of literature. Intellectual community is crucial to this endeavor, which means we will meet synchronously once a week, and that we need to take our work and our class meetings seriously. That means not just passively “doing the reading,” but also processing what we read, considering why it might matter or be interesting, and committing to doing the intellectual and written work with reflection and intent.

Course Objectives:
The course is designed to do two things.

  1. To give you a selective overview of key movements in critical theory and literary schools of criticism. We can’t cover the enormous range of topics addressed by literary and cultural theory in ten weeks, but my goal is to provide you with a broad sketch of various important evolutions and relatedly, to help you begin to develop your own scholarly methodology and professional persona in relation to them.
  2. To equip you with the professional skills you will need going forward. Graduate school is a process of professionalization. I take my responsibility in introducing you to that and helping you to navigate it seriously. Therefore, all assignments in this course will be geared toward giving you exposure to and practice of a number of the facets of academic professionalization that you need to demonstrate as a professional scholar. Our primary focus will be on academic genres that get your scholarly work out into the world, which may include, for example, the academic book review and public-facing review essay (which are related, but distinct from one another in style and tone), the abstract, the conference paper, and the journal article. I will attempt to demystify the hidden expectations for professionals in academia, and give you the tools to help you play the game.

ENG 505 Seminar in Writing Nonfiction 5 c.
44307 TR 0800-0950 Suzanne Paola

The Poetries of Prose: Beyond the Lyric Essay

Virginia Woolf often began work not with an idea but with a “rhythm.” Though it’s become popular, and helpful at times, to divide up nonfiction into narrative and lyric essays, doing so can obscure the fact that all language is controlled by rhythm—especially a highly stressed, partly Germanic language like our own. Today we’re going to play around with ways of seeing how language operates prosodically, within prose—how it can be more fresh, more surprising, when you add the tools of performative syntax and careful sentence and paragraph structure to your toolbox. Accordingly, we will spend several weeks on the sentence and the paragraph before diving in to entire essays and other prose forms still reading those with an attention to the prosody of the work.

ENG 506 Multigenre: Hybrid Forms 5 cr.
43229 TR 1000-1150 Jane Wong

“Bewilderment is an enchantment that follows a complete collapse of reference and reconcilability.”
– Fanny Howe, from “Bewilderment”

As a generative and workshop based class, we will closely read and pursue a variety of hybrid forms that cross genre and disciplinary boundaries. What happens when writing challenges our preconceived notions of genre, rendering the text open and amorphous? How do these texts push our emotional, intellectual, and felt experiences as readers? And, how does one’s own experience of hybridity echo their formal enactments on (and beyond) the page? Some of our course texts include: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s DICTEE, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Anne Carson’s Nox, Don Mee Choi’s Hardly War, Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, and others. As writers and artists, we will experiment with hybrid forms – forms that are neither/nor, defy definition, and celebrate invention. We will increase our sense of “bewilderment” by pushing genre boundaries toward radical possibilities – while still paying close attention to craft and revision. As we explore hybrid forms, we will deeply reflect on our creative processes and consider the intertwined relationship between form and content. Along with creative exercises and community-based workshops, you will be creating a final project – in a medium (or mediums) of your choosing – featuring new and revised work.

ENG 513 Seminar in Tchg College Comp 5 cr.
40133 TR 1200-1350 Andrew Lucchesi

English 513 is designed to serve two purposes. It provides an introduction to pedagogical theories about the teaching of writing. It also serves as a workshop, where new English department TAs can examine what they are experiencing in their first quarter teaching at Western, helping them become more confident, adaptable, and well-equipped teachers going forward. We will focus on theories and practices appropriate for teaching writing in a range of settings, including how one might teach in a fully online writing class. Our readings will focus primarily on pedagogical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, examining particularly how teachers and scholars have used theory and technological innovation to continue teaching writing in this new context.

The work for this course will involve keeping a weekly teaching blog, presenting and leading a discussion about one of our readings, and contributing to a class-wide annotated bibliography. At the end of the course, students will work together to design large-scale writing assignments that they could potentially teach in a class like English 101.

ENG 570 Topics in Cultural Studies 5 cr.
44309 TR 1800-1950 Lysa Rivera

Afrofuturisms: Since at least the late nineteenth century, images of and references to space, science, and technology have permeated much of African-American cultural production. From post-Reconstruction literary figures such as Sutton Griggs, E.A. Johnson, Pauline Hopkins and W.E.B. Du Bois, to more recent speculative luminaries like Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Samuel Delany, black cultural workers in the United States (and beyond) have energized and transformed science fiction—traditionally a pulp genre directed to and consumed by white, male adolescents—into a politicized space for the examination of fictions of science, many of which have historically played an integral part in policing, violating, even defining black bodies.

Working predominantly with contemporary texts and artists, this graduate seminar attempts to unpack the concept (and stakes) of Afrofuturism, currently a very popular black speculative aesthetic that defiantly appropriates images of science and technology both to dramatize how being black is akin to inhabiting a sci-fi nightmare and to construct powerful alternatives to that nightmare. Examining multiple forms of media – including literature, music, visual, and performance art – we will trace the ways in which Afrofuturism sheds light not only on African American cultural history and practices, but also on the broader field of science fiction itself. To supplement and contextualize our understanding of Afrofuturism, we will occasionally consult readings in postcolonial, diaspora, and critical race theory.

Course Objective: In addition to introducing you to the topic of literary Afrofuturisms, this course aims to strengthen your ability to develop and sustain a self-directed research project that culminates in a substantive and polished research paper, one potentially suitable for publication or to be used as a writing sample for graduate applications. Your role as a junior scholar will be to identify a relevant topic (ideally one that truly interests you), familiarize yourself deeply with scholarship already produced on that topic, and stake out new ground within those established critical conversations. While individual research methods will vary, all students will produce paper proposals, annotated bibliographies, multiple partial drafts and a final revision.

FALL 2019 | WINTER 2020 | SPRING 2020

FALL 2019
ENG 501 Literary Theories & Practices 5cr
40005 TR 12:00-01:50 pm Loar, Christopher F.

This foundational course will introduce MA and MFA students to literary theories and criticism, as well as to foundational skills and knowledges necessary for literary research, such as database searches, working with archival material, and the composition of specialized academic genres such as the prospectus and annotated bibliography. We will examine a range of critical approaches (from the classical period to the present).

Course work will include reading a wide range of theoretical essays; participating in class discussions and presentations; contributing actively to small group work; and writing in several distinct academic genres.

ENG 506 Multigenre: SpeculativeWriting 5cr
44128 TR 12:00-01:50 pm Magee, Kelly Elizabeth

Catalog: Studies in the theory and practice of creative writing that can encompass more than one genre, create hybrid genres, or cross genre lines. May be repeated under advisement.

ENG 509 Intrnship in Writ, Edit & Prod 1 TO 5cr
40137 TBD TBD Staff

ENG 513 Seminar in Tchg College Comp 5cr
Notes: appointment as a teaching assistant or instructor permission
40138 TR 08:00-09:50 am Lucchesi, Andrew John

This class explores the questions all composition teachers face—not just in their first year in front of a classroom, but throughout their careers. What does it mean to teach writing? What do we expect of our students as they learn? What does it mean to be a teacher? What do we expect our students to be in response? How does our work as teachers coexist with our lives as researchers, students, and creative writers? How can our teaching matter—to our students, to ourselves, to the world outside our classrooms?

This class is framed around such questions. Your work will be to answer them, as best you can in this moment, using your daily experiences in the first-year writing classroom as your guide. We’ll read a range of scholarship together as a way to help us approach these questions with more confidence—with an awareness that these questions are not new, and the struggle to answer them is not ours alone. Writing Studies is built on contradictions and disagreements: about what writing is, and what it should be; about what a writing class is, and whom it should serve; about what teaching is for, and what it can achieve. While you may not leave this class with settled answers to these questions—indeed, it’s my greatest hope that you don’t—I hope that they can help focus you in your development as a writing teacher, to point you toward a way of teaching and a way of learning that matters to you.

ENG 515 Crit Thry: Feminist Theory 5cr
44129 TR 04:00-05:50 pm Metzger, Mary J.

In this course we will explore the nature of feminist theory in the 20th and 21st centuries, with emphasis on its intersectionality and utility for the creative practice of resistance to the long history of heteropatriarchal white supremacist thought and practice. We will begin with Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, but quickly move to the developments of Queer & Trans Theory, Indigenous Theory, and Critical Race Theory. The works we will read will often defy many traditional academic binaries. Backgrounds in these theories and/or post colonial theory, affect theory, structuralism, Marxism, philosophy, poststructuralism and postmodernism are welcome, but we will work consistently to explain foundational ideas or histories of thought that inform our readings. No prerequisites necessary except for a willingness to read a lot of challenging but exciting material and actively engage it in collaboration with others. As in all my theory courses, my principle aim is to help you find the theory/theorists that best help you do your most transformational work.

ENG 525 Fiction: Cybernetic Fiction 5cr
43132 TR 10:00-11:50 am Dietrich, Dawn Y.

This course will explore one of the most important developments in current literary study: the convergence of twentieth and twentieth-first century narrative and technology. Basically, we’ll be looking at the ways in which the novel has enlarged and redefined its territory of representation and its range of technique and play, while maintaining its viability in the new media ecology. Specifically, we’ll be analyzing the relationship between print texts and electronic media, including canonical novels of high modernism and postmodernism, artists’ books, technotexts, and hypermedia. We’ll also be engaging in a new form of literary discourse–media-specific analysis–which attends to the specificity of form as well as to citations and imitations of one medium in another. As defined by N. Katherine Hayles, “media-specific analysis moves from the language of text to a more precise vocabulary of screen and page, digital program and analogue interface, code and ink, mutable image and durable mark, computer and book. Media-specific analysis insists that texts must always be embodied to exist in the world. The materiality of those embodiments interacts dynamically with linguistic, rhetorical, and literary practices to create the effects we call literature.”

Assignments: The reading in this class is very challenging, notably the inclusion of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, so I’ve organized the course like an intimate book group that gathers regularly for literary discussions. My hope is to create an informal discussion format where any questions and comments can be asked of the group. This only works if you’re willing to share your perceptions and your experience of reading, openly–and if you practice active listening when others speak. You do not have to worry that the course will be too difficult for you! I have found successful techniques to help students explore Gravity’s Rainbow in meaningful ways, and I’m excited to work with all of you this time around. But, you do have to be willing to take risks with your reading, and not just with Gravity’s Rainbow . . . . Many of the texts in this course will be experimental and may be out of your comfort zone. I ask that you come to class having read the text critically and willing to share your thoughts, questions, and comments. This is especially important for those areas of the text that seem the most difficult, puzzling, or provocative. It is okay not to have answers; and, in fact, it is much more useful to explore literary complexity from different and multivalent perspectives. Finally, in this course you will have the opportunity to respond to texts critically and creatively and to employ experimental or hybrid approaches to textuality, inscription processes, and book/media form and format. The final project will involve creating your own technotext! Both creative writers and literature students should find this course useful to their work.

Trigger Warning: Some of the material in the course deals explicitly with rape, sexual violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, and graphic descriptions of bodily functions. Feel free to talk with me, if you want to know what to expect with each text and whether this course will work for you.

Evaluation: Course grades will be determined by a short exploratory paper (5-7 pages, if print), a longer exploratory paper (10-12 pages, if print), a class discussion lead, and a technotext project. For the writing assignments, it is possible to create a multi-modal text, such as a podcast, visual essay, or digital artifact, as well as the more conventional print text. Details will be forthcoming. Finally, I don’t want anyone to be stressed out and/or stifled by anticipating a grade, so while I will give you detailed and challenging feedback on your writing, you may revise your work at any time for re-assessment. I hope to value risk taking and invention and to work with the assumption that writing, creating, thinking, and learning are ongoing processes.

Required Texts:

  • Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology, Joseph Tabbi and Michael Wutz
  • Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
  • A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion, Steven Weisenburger
  • Everybody’s America: Thomas Pynchon, Race, and the Cultures of Postmodernism, David Witzling
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino
  • House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition, Mark Danielewski
  • Writing Machines, N. Katherine Hayles

*All books will be placed on course reserves.

Optional Text: Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow, Zak Smith (print or online)

  • Hypermedia, Technotexts, Graphic Novels, and Artists’ Books
  • Electronic Literature Collection, vols. 1-3, co-edited by N. Katherine Hayles, Stephanie Strickland, Nick
    Montfort, Scott Rettberg (online)
  • My Body: A Wunderkammer, Shelley Jackson (online)
  • A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel, Tom Phillips
  • P=R=O=G=R=A=M=M=A=T=O=L=O=G=Y, John Cayley (online)
  • Dakota, Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries (online)
  • V: Losing L’una/WaveSon.nets/Vniverse, Stephanie Strickland (print and online)
  • Lexia to Perplexia, Talan Memmott (online)
  • Screen, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, John Cayley, et al.
  • Welcome to Pine Point, Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons

ENG 550 Studies in American Literature 5cr
44130 TR 02:00-03:50 pm Heim, Stefania F.

Muriel Rukeyser’s 1938 long poem “The Book of the Dead” uses language from Congressional hearings, personal interviews, devastating facts, and lyrical passages to tell the story of the Gauley Bridge industrial disaster, in which almost 1,000 mostly black workers in West Virginia died from prolonged exposure to Silica dust. “Poetry can extend the document,” Rukeyser asserts, urging her readers to reconsider the work of poetry, its “proper” materials, and what it has to do with the broad terrain on which lives are negotiated, organized, remembered, made meaning from. Following Rukeyser into the field of Documentary Poetry, this course asks: How have the tools of poetry been used to engage topics outside of the narrowly construed realm of the “aesthetic”? What relationships does Documentary Poetry assume or animate between the individual and the communal? Between intimate life and public life? Between poetry and history? Between expression and witness? How shall we talk about a poem’s “voice” or voices. What sort of truth are we after, anyway?

In this course we will take the poetic use of source materials not as instances of “mere” play (though many works we encounter will be playful), but as urgent interventions in interdisciplinary thought. We will read poems closely to investigate how their techniques and strategies enact knowledge and make things happen. Whether it is a form or a current, a practice or a tradition, we will attend to the history of Documentary Poetry as it has intersected with documentary work in other media as well as with other Modernist forms; and we will revel in contemporary experiments with “extending the document.” There will be opportunities for both creative and scholarly investigations into Documentary Poetics, including a significant research project. We will read a range of poets, most likely including Rukeyser, William Carlos Williams, Charles Reznikoff, Robert Hayden, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, M NourbeSe Philip, Mark Nowak, Susan Howe, Layli Long Soldier, Don Mee Choi, Craig Santos Perez, and Rodrigo Toscano.

ENG 594 Practicum in Teaching 2 TO 5cr

Catalog: Supervised teaching for MA or MFA candidates, under the direction of graduate faculty. Repeatable to a maximum of 5 credits including original course.

ENG 690 Thesis Writing 2 TO 10cr


ENG 505 – Seminar in Writing Nonfiction
13562 TR 02:00-03:50 pm Miller, Brenda

This course will be an intensive generative writing workshop. We will write new work every day, practicing the fundamental skills of creative nonfiction and expanding our range of techniques. We will study classic, contemporary, and emerging forms, and by the end of the course you will have a substantial body of new work and a more nuanced understanding of the genre.


  • Tell it Slant, Third Edition, Miller/Paola
  • Selected works posted on Canvas

ENG 510 – Rhetoric
10352 TR 04:00-05:50 pm Brown, Nicole

In this course we will explore the intersections of the ongoing making of the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition and the social praxis within Rhetoric and Composition towards the making of the worlds we inhabit.

Throughout the quarter we will transverse disciplinary identities and conceptual and theoretical spaces in the history of Rhetoric and Composition. The rhetorical tradition has long concerned it self with the arts and acts of “making”— from the art of rhetoric, the discovery of invention, to the craft and technologies of techne’, the strategies of heuristics, the building of discourse, and the social action of genres, and multimodal assemblages of bodies, meaning, and things.

In response to the importance of materialist thought in Rhetoric and Composition and object-oriented rhetorics, we will shift our focus from the human relationship with things and the things themselves, to theories, practices, and processes of making things and makerspaces. We will approach our inquires and research towards Rhetoric in the Making though social, sensory, and embodied problem-solving, reading, and composing. Makerspaces can involve digital technologies, but they do not have to. They do emphasize participation, dialogue, and communication with publics, perhaps even rhetorical citizenship.

Of course, throughout the course we will weave in readings and reflections on “Maker Culture” and the spirit of DIY (Do It Yourself), tracing the locations of such work through the informal, highly networked, decentralized sharing of skills related to participatory design, world making, hacker aesthetics, tinkering, crafting, and more.

The course will be loosely structured around three scholarly focuses: the rhetorical tradition and rhetorical theory, cultural technique and material culture, and cultural studies. Course projects include rhetorical analysis and reflection (Blog, public or private), a multimedia composition project (Zine, digital or print), and maker days. Through maker days, you will make a “thing” and share a presentation and a scholarly reflection about the making of that thing.

If you are concerned about artistic or technological ability for any of the projects, know that we will focus on the making process and related scholarship, reflecting more on relationships with our making process and movements in the field of Rhetoric and Composition than on the end product. If you would like to discuss details of these projects further, please be in touch, and I would be happy to share: nicole.brown@wwu.edu.

ENG 525 – Studies in Fiction
13699 TR 12:00-01:50 pm Kahakauwila, Kristiana

Consider This a Vessel: On Story & Structure

When fiction writers think of story we tend to focus on linear structures such as plotline or Freytag’s triangle, with its emphasis on conflict and climactic satisfaction. Ursula Le Guin in “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” argues instead for a story model that would be better described as a vessel, which gathers elements and holds them in relation to one another. Taking this as our starting point, we’ll look at ways to structure everything from a sentence to a scene to a novel, and how to employ the most resonant structures for our particular work. We’ll explore what different genres have to teach us (hermit crabs! ikebana à la Brenda Miller! the delights of Ross Gay!). We’ll study community- and culturally-specific vessels as examples of decolonial and other politically implicated shapes. And finally, we’ll consider how assumptions of structure can favor one kind of story over another, how craft—the way we tell—is tied to the ethics of that telling. The course is open to all genres, MFAs and MAs, and is great for those working on their theses as well as those nervous about working on their theses. You’ll have a rigorous reading list, a small teaching assignment, and lots of fresh writing due.

ENG 570 – Topics in Cultural Studies
13563 TR 12:00-01:50 pm Warburton, Theresa Anne

Critically Sovereign: Studies in Queer Native and Indigenous Literatures

Using the frameworks provided through both critical and queer Indigenous studies, this course examines how contemporary Native authors are using a variety of literary genres to explore the connections between colonialism, imperialism, gender, sexuality, and feminism. Specifically eschewing a model that takes an anthropological approach to the study of Native literatures as descriptive narratives of experience, we will explore how such texts and authors are challenging foundational assumptions of gender, sexuality, feminist, and queer studies and asserting frameworks for addressing core questions of power, sovereignty, identity, and politics that are both long-standing and innovative.

Students can expect a high reading load that spans both critical theory and literary texts, accompanied by written assignments that familiarize them with techniques and skills useful in graduate-level literary studies more generally.

ENG 575 – Women’s Lit:
12326 TR 08:00-09:50 am Giffen, Allison A.

Nineteenth-Century US Women’s Literature: This seminar will explore the work of U.S. women writers of the nineteenth century. Focusing on novels and poetry, we will explore the philosophical roots and cultural context of sentimentalism and investigate the ways that these writers deploy the sentimental as they participate in the public realm of contemporary political debates about race, class, and gender. Our approach will be largely cultural and historical as we examine women writers’ complicated and varied relationship to cultural constructions of womanhood and the notion of separate spheres. We will also attend such issues as the problem of authenticity and sincerity, in part by considering dress and ritual, domesticity and home reform, as they pertain to assertions of middle-class identity.

ENG 580 – Film:
10588 TR 10:00-11:50 am + Film viewing W 5-7:50 p.m. Youmans, Greg

This foundational seminar centers on canonical (and a few outlier) writings in film and media theory, from the silent era to the digital present and including not only cinema but also online media and video games. The seminar is designed to prepare participants for film and media scholarship at the graduate level. As such, our first goal is to build knowledge and facility with the core theories that have defined the field over the past half century. Our second goal is to develop and hone skills in the application of these theories to both scholarship and production. Participants will write an essay in which they apply one or more of the theories we explore in class to an original analysis of a particular film or other audiovisual media work of their choosing. Each person will also design and create a media project that elucidates, complicates, or challenges one of the works of theory we read together.


ENG 502 Seminar in Writing of Fiction 5cr
22861 TR 06:00-07:50 Trueblood, Kathryn R.

We shall consider the linking aspects of longer fictional forms—repeating characters, kinship ties, multiple perspectives on a common event, thematics, or geography—and discover methods for organizing our own pieces. Although we will be studying the linked collection or the novel-in-stories, this course is also suitable for writers figuring out the organizing principles of a novel.

The linked collection is a form that has long been celebrated by distinguished authors from Ernest Hemingway to Amy Tan. Louise Erdrich made her 1984 debut in fiction with Love Medicine, which took the National Book Critics Circle Award. More recently, Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Contemporary practitioners include Edwidge Danticat, Haruki Murakami, Jennifer Egan, and Jamie Quatro.

We’ll consider whether the linked form offers the writer publication venues that the longer forms don’t, whether we can effectively excerpt from a novel to achieve the same ends, and we’ll practice presenting our work to publishers and agents in the current literary landscape.

In this class, we recognize that there are different styles of workshop: Conceptual for early drafts i.e. generative, reflective, and envisioning; and Substantive for expanded and polished copy.

(Please purchase the texts prior to the first day of class.)


  • You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
  • Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
  • The Writer’s Portable Mentor, by Priscilla Long, 2nd Edition


ENG 504 Seminar in Writing of Poetry 5cr

23677 TR 04:00-05:50 pm Beasley, Bruce H.

This seminar will be an intensive examination of the poetry of the seminar participants and of the implicit and explicit poetics behind the generation and revision of those poems. We’ll examine the role of poetry in contemporary culture and ask questions about what kind of poem we want to produce, and why; what kinds of poetic traditions we want to embrace, what kinds of traditions we want to reject, and why. We’ll explore larger questions of the purpose of poetry and the ambitions of the seminar poets in the context of intensive seminar discussions of at least five poems per student. We’ll work with multiple revisions of each poem and explore the revision process intensively, including early drafts of very famous poems. There will also be extensive readings in poetry and poetic theory to accompany and give context for the discussions of poems by each seminar participant and a final essay in poetics.


ENG 509 Intrnship in Writ, Edit & Prod 1 TO 5cr

23457 TBD TBD Staff


ENG 550 Studies in American Literature 5cr
23459 TR 12:00-01:50 Lee, Jean

Queering Caribbean Literature: Though colonial legacies still inform Caribbean gender and sexual norms, how might literature excavate stories about queerness hidden in plain sight? Simultaneously, how might it resist hegemonic analytic categories, such as queer, while producing alternative imaginaries and embodiments? In this course, we will read Caribbean short stories, poetry, novels, memoir, and scholarship to explore how Caribbean writers claim belonging and difference as they transgress Euro-American legacies of normative identity and behavior.


ENG 560 Studies in British Literature 5cr
22867 TR 10:00-11:50 Anderson, Katherine J.

Our contemporary culture tends to associate Victorian Britain (1837-1901) with the repression or concealment of desire. This is not completely incorrect: it is true that after the more freewheeling eighteenth century, new codes of public propriety arose in Britain. Victorian sexuality, then, was in some senses “repressed” and heavily regulated. Yet many of those who lived and wrote in nineteenth-century Britain were obsessed with sexuality, and even when sexuality appears to be forbidden or censored, it is often front and center as a topic. You don’t have to look very far beneath the surface, or between the lines, to find evidence of the sexualities and desires overflowing in Victorian art and writing. Topics considered in this course will include sexual desire in relation to race and colonialism, queer sex and desire, gender fluidity, sexuality and disability, attitudes towards marriage (including bigamy), prostitution and the trope of the “fallen woman,” and sexual assault, among others. We’ll consider these topics as represented in a range of some of the most important fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, and drama produced in Britain during the nineteenth century. Of central importance to our investigations will be the question of power: what role does power play in sexuality, and, conversely, what role does sexuality play in power?

Content Warning: Some of the texts we’ll read include representations of sexual violence or assault, most glaringly at the beginning of the course, with Sade and Lewis. I did not assign these texts lightly, nor is it my intent for us to dismiss their problematic elements. Rather, it is my goal for us to confront and discuss those elements sensitively, but also thoughtfully and deeply, particularly in relation to the #MeToo movement, contemporary rape culture, the connections between liberalism, (patriarchal) power, and sexual/gendered violence, as well as our own ethical responsibilities as educators and intellectuals.

Course Objectives:
This course is designed to do two things.

  1. To give you an in-depth understanding of the literature of the nineteenth-century Britain, and that literature’s role in historical and contemporary understandings and representations of sexuality. By the end of the quarter, you will have a fuller knowledge of specific literary movements and significant innovations that emerged in the period and how they overlap (the Gothic, realism, the dramatic monologue, and sensation fiction, to name a few), as well as a better understanding of the cultural desires and anxieties that emerged in relation to sexuality in said literature.
  2. To equip you with the professional skills you will need going forward. Part of your professional skill set includes reflexivity. It behooves you to be aware of developments in your specific field and in your greater discipline, and to be able to situate your own scholarship and methodologies in relation to those developments. A related aspect of your professional skill set requires reflexivity in relation to pedagogy: how and why do you (or will you) teach the way you do? We’ll address both aspects of professionalism in this course.

Assignments/Evaluations: Assignments will consist of in-class participation; a choice between a teaching presentation and annotated syllabus OR a public humanities op-ed piece; and a 12-15 page seminar paper, which we will treat as the core of an eventual article-length publication.


  • Anonymous, The Woman of Colour (Broadview, ISBN: 9781551111766)
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical, ISBN: 9780393284997)
  • Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch (Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 9780199554065)
  • Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (Oxford World’s Classics; ISBN: 0192835238)
  • Matthew Lewis, The Monk (Penguin Classics, ISBN: 9780140436037)
  • John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (Dover Thrift Editions; ISBN 0486296016)
  • Additional shorter texts will be available on Canvas.

ENG 594 Practicum in Teaching 2 TO 5cr
20091 TBD TBD Staff


ENG 598 Sem Tch Eng: 5cr
22284 TR 08:00-09:50 Qualley, Donna Jeanne

The essay is…the form par excellence for addressing a reality that resists simple, clear answers… An essay is a trial effort, a tentative exploration, a feeling around the contours of shapes that may never become wholly visible, a report of qualified findings. (Arthur C. Danto)
Education is the reconstruction or reorganization of experience which adds to the meaning of experience, and which increases ability to direct the course of subsequent experience. (John Dewey)

Teaching is in fact the means by which we may become other than ourselves: at the hands of the material we are teaching . . . as well as in the hands of the people gathered with us in the room we share . . . (Paul Kameen)

We cannot know what precisely the student will do with what we have offered, but we can think with the student about the experience of the offer itself. (Paul Lynch)

I think what essays do best is meander. . . They proceed in elliptical curves, diverging, digressing. We will not see the shape of the journey until we are done, and we can look back on it as a whole, as it were, from the air. But we [the readers] will, and very quickly, come to know the shape of our company—the mind, the sensibility, the person[s], with whom we are traveling. . . (Mary Paumier Jones)

Experience arrives first, pedagogy comes after, but the teacher is to always to be found in the spaces “between.” This seminar will carve a somewhat meandering, twisting path between experience and reflection, exploring both the “between” and “after” spaces of teaching and its counterpart, pedagogy. Our source texts will originate from the field of rhetoric and composition studies, but since our work focuses on teaching in general, this course will be relevant to students interested in teaching creative writing and literary studies courses as well.

We will begin with a book that explores and demonstrates how the experience of teaching might precede and prefigure research, scholarship, theory, and inquiry (rather than the other way around). We’ll see how one teacher “essays” his experience (literally) while co-teaching a graduate seminar in “Race and Gender in 20th American Poetry” and then how that teaching experience informs his reading of Plato, including the dynamics of the teacher-student relationship. We’ll make a stop at what Stephen North calls “the house of [practitioner] lore,” that is filled with practitioner stories about how to answer the “Monday morning question”: What can I do in class on Monday morning?

We’ll then consider Paul Lynch’s argument for a pedagogy that follows teaching rather than precedes it, one that addresses the Tuesday morning question: What do I now do on Tuesday morning given my experience on Monday morning? How can I make a sustainable resource of that Monday morning experience? Asking these questions is critical to developing pedagogical expertise because it enables us to intellectualize our teaching stories and experiences in ways that can enrich future experience.

Throughout the course, we’ll use “essaying” as both method and disposition for engaging this work. To essay is to attempt, to try out or try on, or to assay—to sift through and weigh out. Essaying is open, tentative, exploratory. Every week, you will be writing short, “essayistic” musings prompted by your reading and saturated with your experience here and elsewhere to share with the class. We’ll also be engaging in a series of “Tuesday morning question” projects.



FALL 2018 | WINTER 2019 | SPRING 2019

FALL 2018

ENG 501 – Literary Theories & Practices
40003 TR 10:00-11:50 CHRISTOPHER LOAR

This foundational course will introduce MA and MFA students to literary theories and criticism, as well as to foundational skills and knowledges necessary for literary research, such as database searches, working with archival material, and the composition of specialized academic genres such as the prospectus and annotated bibliography. We will examine a range of critical approaches (from the classical period to the present).

Course work will include reading a wide range of theoretical essays; participating in class discussions and presentations; contributing actively to small group work; and writing in several distinct academic genres.

ENG 513 – Seminar in Tchg College Comp
Prerequisites & Notes: appointment as a teaching assistant or instructor permission. Offered once a year in the fall.
40165 TR 2:00-3:50 ANDREW LUCCHESI

Many folks in the field of Rhetoric & Composition have called this an impossible course. That might seem strange because this is simply a practicum for graduate students in the teaching of college composition. Why dub it impossible? For lots of reasons, I suppose. I can’t list them all here, but a good way to start thinking about this impossibility is simply to try and define “composition” for yourself. What does it mean in a 21st century classroom? What’s the process underlying composing? What does a composition look like? In other words, how does one learn to teach relatively new college students a diverse activity that is also a kind of nebulous noun. It’s hard to say exactly how one does such a thing.

Still, much of this class is to recognize that impossibility and proclaim “challenge accepted!” We’ll look to historical definitions of composition and we’ll put those up against more contemporary questions and concerns as we work to better understand what you are doing in your own composition classrooms. What that means is that, together, we’ll try on some of the assignments that our students do, we’ll ask questions and write responses concerning how and why we might create better assignments, and we’ll reflect on the place of our college composition course in the field of Rhetoric & Composition and in our own university. What’s more, we’ll spend a good deal of time together working through the relationship between rhetorical theory and composition pedagogy. The goal here is to ground both your thinking about composition and your developing pedagogical style in the imaginative and productive questions that, I think, grow out of a sincere engagement with rhetoric (both ancient and contemporary takes).

Clearly, it’s a busy class. And while teaching composition may very well be impossible, we’ll still build a few practical paths through the strange project of being a teacher and a graduate student.

ENG 520 – Studies in Poetry
44038 TR 8:00-9:50 BRUCE BEASLEY

Stephanie Strickland wrote that “Poems are words that take you through three kinds of doors: closed doors, secret doors, and doors you don’t know are there.” In this seminar we bang on all three doors and see who opens. We will explore the oblique and mysterious logics and unlogics of lyric poetry in the context of the parable, the paradox, the koan, and other forms and rhetorical structures that resist the linear and the rational in favor of the unsayable, undecideable, interdeterminable, overdetermined, and multiple. Reading individual poems from throughout the history of poetry and into recent avant-garde experimentation, we will read widely (and improvisationally) in poetry and poetics, experiencing how, as Seamus Heaney puts it, “Poetry is born out of the superfluity of language’s own resources and energy. It’s a kind of overdoing it. Enough is not enough when it comes to poetry.”

This seminar is itself a kind of paradox or oxymoron, as we’ll be reading poems critically and criticizing poems poetically. During each seminar we will intensively examine a wide range of poets and poems, trying out various ways of responding through theory, criticism, and poetry to what engages us in the poems, and in the classes that follow we will respond to some of those poems (and issues in poetics raised by our seminar discussions) through various radical reactions to those poems. Those reactions may take the form of critical essays, of poems that talk back to the poems we’re investigating, of hybrid forms of poetry and critical writing, and various not-yet-invented forms and structures of dialogue with the poems.

ENG 525 – Studies in Fiction

Who’s In Charge Around Here?: On Communal, Authorial & Narratorial Custody: For most artists, the work we create stems from personal, familial, genealogical, place-based, political, technological, communal and/or other (hi)stories. How do we honor and where do we re-imagine those (hi)stories in our own work? If we are custodians of the (hi)stories out of which we write, what can we share and what remains hidden? We’ll start the course by learning about the Hawaiian literary practice of kaona and use it as we weave in other ideas of authorial control and custody. Questions we’ll ask of our writing and ourselves will include: Am I maker or merely listener? Do I call on the muse, or does the muse command me? And how are these fun “writer woo-woo” questions tied to techniques of production and craft? We’ll beg an answer via a study of narratorial control, free indirect discourse, narrative custody, and profluence, just to name a few, even as we ask how and why these craft notions garner more critical attention than others.

We’ll read amazing work from multiple genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art. We’ll intertwine theory, craft, and our own creative production as a means for considering how we produce and why and for whom. We’ll be scholar-writers, and the class will be structured to welcome MAs and MFAs, poets and prosers, those interested in Indigenous and Euro-American craft theory of the 20th and 21st centuries, artists of all kinds.

I’m still tinkering with the reading list so if there are questions of craft or artistry arising for you right now, come chat. We can build those into the course.

ENG 560: BRIT LITS: Empire/Globalization

Empire and Globalization in British Literature: In the nineteenth century, Britain was the dominant superpower, claiming the “sun never set” on her vast empire because it stretched around the globe. This course investigates empire and global migration as manifested in British literature and culture from the nineteenth century up to the present, focusing on geographical locations that were touched by the British Empire and remain affected by Western imperialism and/or neo-imperialism in our contemporary postcolonial age: the West Indies, India and Pakistan, the Pacific, and Africa. We will consider depictions of the Empire ranging from the “uncharted” colonial territories and settler farms of South Africa to the urban spaces of London and Lahore. Along the way, we’ll incorporate attention to empire’s entanglements with race, class, gender and sexuality, and other forms of personal identity for both the colonized and the colonizers. Some of the questions we will consider include: How did social positioning (such as class, race, or gender identity), affect experiences of empire and migration in the nineteenth century versus today? What is the relationship of narrative to empire and expansion? How does form or genre affect a depiction of empire, or relatedly, of migration or diaspora? How did imperialism shape these various colonies, and in return, how did empire seep into the domestic space and consequently reshape Britain? What are the contemporary scholarly conversations about empire, globalization, neo-imperialism, and neo-liberalism, and what might we have to add?

This course is designed to do two things: to give you an in-depth understanding of the literature, issues, and developments of the nineteenth-century British Empire and its relevance to contemporary issues of postcolonialism and globalization, and to equip you with the professional skills you will need going forward. Part of your professional skill set includes reflexivity; it behooves you to be aware of developments in your specific field and in your greater discipline, and to be able to situate your own scholarship and methodologies in relation to those developments. A related aspect of your professional skill set requires reflexivity in relation to pedagogy: how and why do you teach the way you do? We’ll address both aspects of professionalism in this course. Assignments will consist of participation, a teaching presentation and syllabus, an op-ed piece, and an article-length final paper.

Texts may include: Brontë, Jane Eyre; Coetzee, Disgrace; Haggard, She; Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm; Seacole, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands; Shamsie, Burnt Shadows; Smith, White Teeth; Stevenson, The Ebb-Tide.


ENG 502 – Seminar in Writing of Fiction

12575 TR 6-8 CAROL GUESS

Truth, Trauma, and Transformation: This is an experimental workshop in short form fiction conceived as a response to individual and collective trauma and resilience triggered by current events in the United States. We will answer pressing questions in fiction, using imagination to write beyond the limits of this historical moment, building fictional characters and worlds focused on lying, truth-telling, witness, and memory. Our primary texts for discussion will be online journals and magazines. Requirements include two polished short stories and numerous brief writing assignments. Additional texts TBA.

ENG 504 – Seminar in Writing of Poetry

13723 TR 2-4 JANE WONG

As Audre Lorde writes: “Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.” This seminar will explore the role of poetry as deeply engaging, resisting, and changing our current society. Who are we as poets in today’s world? How can we wrestle with the complexities and intersections of our personal and collective lives through language? With rigorous attention to the relationship between form and content, we will write poems in dialogue with prominent contemporary poets. As an active poetry community, we will revisit the stakes of poetry via seminar discussions, constructive feedback, and radical revision strategies. Alongside books by guest visitor(s), poets we will engage with include: H..D., Gwendolyn Brooks, Danez Smith, Ross Gay, Layli Long Soldier, Solmaz Sharif, Chen Chen, CA Conrad, Cathy Park Hong, Javier Zamora, and many more.

ENG 510 – Rhetoric: New Publics


This course wrestles with two competing assumptions: 1. The public is a social sphere constructed through historically shifting interactions among people. And 2. the public is made up of social interaction, yes. But it also is comprised by the built environment––the objects and spaces and processes through which we interact. There is a lot (a lot!) of ‘middle’ between these two poles and we’ll do our best to ask our questions from there.

We’ll start wrestling with these assumptions by first finding some relatively stable footholds within rhetorical theory and practice, particularly the theories and practice that emerge from a relationship between ancient rhetoric (e.g. “Big Daddy A and Greco-Roman Way”) and what increasingly goes by the name New Materialism. New Materialism has its roots in feminists methodologies (generally operating in the sciences). It’s a name for work that emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, that explores the dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, and, maybe most importantly, that rethinks the sources of ethics. New Materialism has, for many, upended what it means to study and to practice rhetoric. It has to some degree altered our historical, classical “origin” stories in exciting and pretty uncomfortable ways. So that’s where will start.

Once we all feel some stability within the relationship between classic rhetoric and New Materialist rhetoric in terms of what “counts” as a public, we’ll slow way down and take that relationship with as we read D. Diane Davis’s Inessential Solidarity. In her book, Davis makes a compelling, if difficult, case for an ethical obligation to respond to the other that is as undeniable as the obligation to age. Such an obligation generates new possibilities for publics and for public rhetoric because it pushes past symbolic theories of persuasion toward more fundamental (and undeniable!) notions of affectability and resposivity.

Believe or not, we’ll still have some time to then explore fairly contemporary practices for public rhetorics. While we are exploring these practices together, you’ll be completing your own public engagement project. You’ll start the project about half way through the quarter and the project might consist of, say, a designed social media campaign, a guerrilla poetry project, a set of small essays for a platform like Medium.com, a podcast project, a longer research essay for an academic public, and so on. What you decide to make will depend on what theories and practices get a hold of you as you think through the publics in which in you act.


  • Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter
  • D. Diane Davis’s Inessential Solidarity
  • Provided Articles, Videos, and Audio Projects

ENG 550 – Amer Lits: Nature Writing and Ecocriticism

12576 TR 12-2 NING YU

From the “Howling Wilderness” to “Life in the Woods”: a Critical Review of the American Perceptions of Nature.

This course helps students develop a working history of an important American genre of literary perceptions and presentations of nature. We’ll start with a glimpse of the Native American world picture and then review the Puritan, Romantic and what Larry Buell calls the realism of environmental literature.

ENG 575 –Women’s Literature: Chicana Feminism

12577 TR 8-10 LYSA RIVERA

Chicana Feminisms: This graduate seminar examines Chicana literary history and feminist discourse since the Chicano Movement (1960s-70s). Briefly, Chicana feminist discourse (also known Xicanisma) encompasses the political, theoretical, and cultural work of women and trans women who self-identify as Chicana, a term usually reserved for politically engaged women of Mexican descent living in the United States. Working more or less chronologically, we will work together to understand and appreciate the how material, lived, and political conditions and political concerns have animated Xicanisma and shaped its literary expressions. Our reading list is robust and includes literary texts across multiple genres and several book-length works of Chicana feminist theory and history. Assignment requirements will include weekly response papers, individual presentations, an annotated syllabus assignment, and one 15-20-page research paper.

ENG 580 – FILM: Cinema & Immigration


Cinema and Immigration: This course explores various ways through which the production, circulation, and consumption of cinematic texts intersect with the notions of immigration, diaspora, and exile. We will focus on several historical, social, and economic contexts including:

  • The wave of German-speaking filmmakers who worked in the United States during and after the Nazi regime,
  • The cinematic representations of the Jewish experience in Latin America,
  • The role popular Hindi-language films play in shaping the Indian diaspora and the relationship diaspora audiences maintain with their homelands,
  • The legacy of colonialism on both contemporary European films and the cinematic output of African countries formerly colonized by European nations,
  • The recent roster of films depicting the ongoing European refugee crisis as it continues to unfold.

What are the common thematic and stylistic elements that characterize cinematic portrayals of immigration across such a wide range of contexts? What are the key concepts, debates and points of contention in the theorization of cinema’s relationship with the immigrant experience as formulated by prominent film scholars? In seeking answers to these questions (and other similar ones), we will see several films, read canonical texts, and work towards a mid-length research article throughout the quarter.

Selected Films:

  • The Time That Remains, dir. Elia Suleiman, 2009
  • The Earrings of Madame De…, dir. Max Ophuls, 1953
  • The Other Side of Hope, dir. Aki Kaurismaki, 2017
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973
  • Head On, dir. Fatih Akin, 2004
  • Black Girl, dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966
  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, dir. Aditya Chopra, 1995
  • Fire at Sea, dir. Gianfranco Rosi, 2016
  • The Lost Embrace, dir. Daniel Burman, 2004

Most of the readings will be available on Canvas, but there is one required book:

  • An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking by Hamid Naficy, Princeton University Press, 2001.


ENG 502 Seminar in Writing of Fiction 5cr

23418 TR 02:00-03:50 Magee, Kelly Elizabeth

The theme of this fiction writing workshop is “Influences,” and we will examine novels and short stories that have been influential in some way–both to individual members of the class and to larger communities. Influence can incorporate everything from mentor texts that address particular subjects, to texts that model technique, to collaborative texts written by multiple authors. This awareness of influence includes critically examining the workshop process as well–attempting different strategies for influencing the process of composition and revision in peer writers. It also includes putting an extra emphasis on audience, articulating who we are writing for and how we hope to influence them, including stories that make statements about politics, identity, activism, science, and/or culture; stories that directly call their readers to action; and stories that shape contemporary ethical and artistic conversations. The class will be primarily concerned with the discussion and analysis of full-length student-produced work, with a smaller emphasis on writing exercises and technique practice, student-led discussions of course texts, publication forums, and informal pedagogical discussions.

The majority of our time will be spent on your writing, and you’ll be expected to produce large quantities of your own fiction for group discussion. You are also encouraged to use this course to write and workshop sections of your thesis-in-progress, and while the assigned texts are centered around a particular theme, your submissions will be open topic (in other words, don’t get hung up on trying to write “influence” pieces; write whatever you want). You’ll be graded on the quality of the work you submit to class.

ENG 505 Seminar in Writing Nonfiction 5cr

23419 TR 10:00-11:50 Paola, Suzanne

The Poetries of Prose: Beyond the Lyric Essay

Virginia Woolf often began work not with an idea but with a “rhythm.” Though it’s become popular, and helpful at times, to divide up nonfiction into narrative and lyric essays, doing so can obscure the fact that all language is controlled by rhythm—especially a highly stressed, partly Germanic language like our own. Today we’re going to play around with ways of seeing how language operates prosodically, within prose—how it can be more fresh, more surprising, when you add the tools of performative syntax and careful sentence and paragraph structure to your toolbox. Accordingly, we will spend several weeks on the sentence and the paragraph before diving in to entire essays and other prose forms still reading those with an attention to the prosody of the work.

ENG 506 Sem Creative Wrtg: Multigenre 5cr

23420 TR 10:00-11:50 Shipley, Ely

Textual Transformations: Hybrid Bodies & Contemporary Genre Crossings

Building on poet Robert Creeley’s statement, “form is never more than an extension of content,” we will explore the recent trend in contemporary poetry toward hybrid forms. While hybrid texts are nothing new (Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchess interweaves Ovid’s story of Ceyx and Alcyone from the epic poem The Metamorphoses; Dante’s La Vita Nuova combines prose and verse—prosimetrum—in a tale of courtly love), many contemporary poets are crossing genres to a degree that suggests an erasure of such categories altogether. This trend leads to questions such as: what are the subjects, circumstances, and desires that drive expansions of poetic form? What poetic techniques, whether meter and rhyme or appropriation and erasure, are used? What are their effects? Might we read such moves as fundamental to contemporary identity? Carole Maso asks, “Does form imply a value system? Is it a statement about perception?”

The books for this course span diverse embodiments of sexual, racial, national, class-based, and familial experience as they necessarily trouble traditional genres. Examining the artistic attributes of these texts, we will seek to understand how literature might be made. Through deep analysis of varied and excellent models, we will amass resources and practice techniques to produce creative work. Authors whose works are under consideration for this course include Kazim Ali, Aaron Apps, Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, CA Conrad, Lily Hoang, Bhanu Kapil, Wayne Kostenbaum, Lucas de Lima, Shane McCrae, Maggie Nelson, Mark Nowak, Diana Khoi Nguyen, M. NourbeSe Philip, Kristin Prevallet, Claudia Rankine, Juliana Spahr, and CD Wright, among others.

ENG 515 Stdies in Literary/Crit Theory 5cr

23422 TR 04:00-05:50 Wise, Christopher

This course will focus on major language and literary theorists after Ferdinand de Saussure, especially Noam Chomsky and Jacques Derrida. Romantic Rationalist (“RR”) theorists of language will be compared and contrasted with Empirical Externalist (“EE”) theorists of language like Derrida and Michel Foucault. Despite their differences, each of these thinkers developed his respective views of language in response to Saussure’s “Course In General Linguistics.” In order to better ground our discussions, we will also read selections from Plato, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. Course concerns will not be limited to questions of linguistics: We will also discuss the political, pedagogical, philosophical, and ethical implications of the texts that we will study. At the conclusion of the seminar, students will write an article length essay which they will present to the class.

ENG 560 Studies in British Literature 5cr

23424 TR 12:00-01:50 Vulic, Kathryn Rajam

In this class, we will read medieval texts in their manuscript context (in facsimile and in original medieval documents) to understand better how literate people in late-medieval England would have thought about reading and writing. We will focus on several literary works found within four important manuscripts: the Ellesmere Chaucer, the Cernon manuscript, the Auchinleck Manuscript, and the Pearl Manuscript. These manuscripts come from the late Middle English period (dating roughly 1300 CE to 1500 CE) and contain some of the finest poetry to survive from the medieval English period. Though we will be reading all texts in modern edited/published forms, we will also be able to examine the original manuscripts themselves, as either paper or digital facsimiles. We will also discuss medieval textual production, high and low literary tastes, and the different means through which an individual might have experienced a literary work (through the eyes, or if the person was illiterate, through the ears). Though the items on the reading list have mainly been chosen according to the significance of the manuscript(s) in which they survive, the readings nevertheless represent a wide range of medieval genres and literary tastes.

A secondary focus of this class will be the study of manuscripts as historical artifacts; students will receive general instruction in medieval paleography (the study of medieval handwriting) and codicology (the study of manuscript construction) and will learn some of the basic principles of manuscript creation and preservation. These experiences will help students to imagine better the medieval experiences of reading, composing, and physically constructing texts. Students will also have an opportunity to edit actual medieval manuscript fragments currently on loan in our library. To accomplish these secondary goals, our class will meet in the Special Collections library (6th Floor of Wilson Library).

This class is intended for graduate students of all backgrounds, and will serve as an introduction to some of the earliest recorded reflections on the social, political, material, and aesthetic stakes of writing. Students will develop a working understanding of Middle English language over the course of the quarter. Though our reading will focus primarily on medieval literary texts, our class discussion and assignments will also address matters of research methodology (including how to conduct research involving manuscripts) and critical writing.


  • Pre-class Canvas posts (meant to set the day’s discussion agenda): 20%
  • Manuscript metadata project (archival work with real medieval manuscript fragments) 10%
  • Historical research project (on a topic significant to class discussion) 20%
  • Research essay (including several drafting stages leading to the final product) 40%
  • Participation 10%


  • Clemens and Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Cornell UP, 2007)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Broadview, 2nd ed., 2012)
  • The Pearl Poet, trans. Casey Finch (UC Press, 1993)
  • Piers Plowman, ed. Robertson and Shepherd (Norton 2006)
  • Selected Middle English romances (King Horn, Floris and Blanchefleur, Lay le Freine, Sir Orfeo) from the TEAMS Middle English Text Series Online, http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/tmsmenu.htm
  • Supplements are available online; other texts must be on hand as hard copy.

ENG 598 Sem Tch Eng:Creative Writing 5cr

22539 TR 08:00-09:50 Miller, Brenda

We will explore the various ways one might envision, develop, and teach an Introduction to Creative Writing course. As an entry-level instructor at a community college or university, you will most likely be asked to teach such a course, and this class will prepare you not only for this scenario, but also for teaching in the community. We will study a variety of textbooks and syllabi, and you will come up with your own syllabus, as well as a reflection on your creative writing teaching philosophy. If time allows, you will also create stand-alone topics workshops in a specific genre that you might offer at a conference, residency, or in the community.